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2 October 2001

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  • Academy Awards race starts to take shape

    Abstracted from the weekly edition of Screen InternationalThe warm-up for the race for the Oscars began this week as two UK prestige pictures - Iris and Charlotte Gray - received official US release slots in December, joining what is fast becoming one of the most competitive seasons in years.On Dec 28 alone - the final week for qualification - seven movies will open, all loaded with tried-and-tested acting, writing and directing talent, and preceded b
  • Artisan valued at $160m after Landscape merger

    After many months of pursuing strategic alliances, acquisitions and mergers, Artisan Entertainment has closed a deal, merging with Landscape Entertainment, the production company founded by former DreamWorks executive Bob Cooper and backed by Canadian conglomerate Bell Globemedia.The deal, closed last Wednesday, sees Canadian broadcaster CTV, a division of Bell Globemedia, and Cooper's group of shareholders contribute Landscape stock and funds previously committed for investment in Lan
  • BBC and HBO to co-produce Churchill war serial

    The UK's BBC Films and US cable network HBO are to co-produce a UK-shot war serial about Winston Churchill's isolation in the run-up to the second world war. Currently in pre-production at Shepperton Studios, A Lonely War is to star Albert Finney as Churchill and Vanessa Redgrave as his wife. Ridley and Tony Scott are producing the drama, directed by Richard Loncraine. BBC Films chief David Thompson is executive producing. The BBC previously picked up HBO's large-scale wa
  • Belgium prepares new film tax shelter legislation

    Belgium's proposed tax-shelter legislation is to be readied for parliamentary debate at a meeting between finance minister Didier Reynders and film producers this week (Oct 3).The current proposal, drawn up by Senator Philippe Monfils, is aimed at encouraging domestic and foreign investors to set up limited partnerships for specific productions. Details are still being ironed out, but according to the current plan, a maximum 40% of a film's budget, which generally averages Euros
  • Berlin Festival launches German section for public

    Next February's Berlin film festival (Berlinale) (Feb 6-17, 2002) will boast a new section highlighting German films that have particular flair or unusual and outstanding characteristics. The new section, Perspectives Of German Cinema will screen about ten contemporary films culled from the feature, documentary and experimental branches. The new section will be open to material shown on 16mm and 35mm formats. "We want to integrate the German film scene more strongly into the Berlinale;
  • Berlusconi acquitted of most charges, some remain

    Italy's Supreme Court has acquitted prime minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi of charges of false accounting during the acquisition of leading film outfit Medusa Film in the late 1980s.The verdict clears Berlusconi of a 16-month prison sentence handed out by a court in 1997. It also confirms an appeals court verdict in February 2000.Nevertheless, Berlusconi, who heads a multi-million dollar business empire comprising Mediaset, the country's largest private TV network, a
  • Bonduel to head Pathe distribution and sales arms

    Marc Bonduel, formerly CEO of France Television Distribution/President Films, has joined Pathe, where he will head both the French film distribution arm Pathe Distribution and international sales outfit Pathe International.Bonduel, 45, a former CEO of Warner Home Video in France who has headed public broadcaster France Television 's film and television sales arm since 1991, takes over Pathe Distribution from Richard Pezet.Pezet, who formed Pathe Distribution (then known as Amlf)
  • Cannes extends an olive branch to UK

    When not one new UK feature was selected for the Cannes Film Festival this year, it caused an outburst of national soul searching. Now the British film industry has been thrown an olive branch by the festival's artistic director Thierry Fremaux.Fremaux says he wants to appoint a British correspondent who lives in Britain and has a strong understanding of the UK film sector to act as his scout for the Cannes Film Festival. The correspondent will tip Fremaux off about exciting new
  • Clouzot commits to Cannes Critics Week reforms

    In Claire Clouzot, the Cannes Critics Week has appointed a new head who has vowed to continue the reforms of her predecessor Jose Maria Riba. Riba quit in a storm of dissent and his departure was followed by the exit of other leading members.Clouzot, the niece of Les Diaboliques director Henri-George Clouzot, was appointed as the section's artistic director, having previously served on the seven-strong selection committee. A slimmed down selection committee of five, will now be
  • Dog Days (Hundstage)

    Dir Ulrich Seidl. Austria 2001. 120 min. Dog Days, Austrian director Ulrich Seidl's astonishing feature directorial debut, is a dark, probing, truly disturbing exploration of angst, anomie, and alienation, as they manifest themselves in Vienna's upscale suburbs. Easily the most provocative movie in this year's Venice Film Festival, deservedly winning a Special Jury Award, Dog Days announces the arrival of a visionary, uncompromising director, whose film blen
  • Don't Say A Word

    Dir: Gary Fleder. US. 2001. 111mins.As generic as its title suggests, Don't Say A Word is a routine psychological thriller, elevated by Michael Douglas' strong presence and expert acting as an eminent yuppie shrink whose eight-year-old daughter is kidnapped by a British villain. Lacking in-depth characterisation or any feeling for the central endangered nuclear family, Gary Fleder's crafty but shallow suspense feature is based on two gimmicks: the ransom is a big red d
  • Drought and political conditions halt Indian fest

    The 32nd edition of the International Film Festival of India has been cancelled due to a combination of worsening local weather conditions and the international political situation.The itinerant festival had been scheduled this year to be held in Bangalore (10-20 Oct) in Karnataka province. But the region has been struck by severe droughts and the local government, which was to co-host and co-finance the event, has ordered it to be cancelled. The organisers proposed moving the f
  • Dutch fest fetes low budget and tax scheme titles

    The 21st edition of the Dutch Film Festival has ended with awards both for high profile tax scheme funded titles, and low-budget debuts. Holland's private investors can congratulate themselves on increasing budgets - and quality - for titles like the Frisian biopic Nynke, already a box office hit, and the literary adaptation The Cave. Awards for Best Film and Best Actress (Monic Hendrickx) went to Nynke, while director Martin van Koolhoven picked up a Golden Calf f
  • DVD fever spreads across European markets

    The Charlie Chaplin classic The Great Dictator will be the closing film on February 17 at this year's Berlinale with members of the Chaplin family in attendance.In addition, a gala screening is being given of the director's cut of Milos Forman's 1984 Oscar-winning film Amadeus in the festival's Official Competition section which will be featuring 22 films in competition and 10 out of competition.The Competition programme will also show ten shorts competing for the
  • EM.TV and ProSiebenSat.1 see income fall

    German film rights trading group EM.TV has announced a 2001 first-half operating profit (EBIT) of $53.4 million (DM114m) and a pre-tax loss of $59.5m (DM127m).In a statement, the company said that it had total sales in the first half of $443.8m (DM947m). The pre-tax loss included interest charges of $130.8m (DM279m), primarily related to financing of Formula One.EM.TV said it expected sales and earnings to improve in its core business in the second-half.This year, EM.TM c
  • Erin O'Neil joins Myriad as vp, m'ktg & publicity

    Erin O'Neil has been named vice president of marketing and publicity at Myriad Pictures in Los Angeles. She will be responsible for international marketing and publicity campaigns for the company's production and acquisitions slate which includes Chen Kaige's Killing Me Softly, Miguel Arteta's The Good Girl and Dan Algrant's People I Know.O'Neil reports to Eric Christenson, executive vice president of sales and distribution, and to co-president Kirk D'Amico. She w
  • Executive overhaul redirects UK's Film Consortium

    Chris Auty has replaced Richard Holmes as managing director of Civilian Content as the UK media concern slashes back in-house production and development and focuses on financing and international sales at its National Lottery franchise, The Film Consortium.Holmes is understood to have clashed over film-making styles with Auty, also chief executive of the consortium. Best known for producing low-budget UK comedies Shooting Fish and Waking Ned, Holmes was apparently unhappy with some rec
  • FFF Bayern awards funding for eight projects

    New feature films by Margarethe von Trotta, Oskar Roehler, Doris Doerrie and Gavin Hood, are among eight projects awarded a total of $5.9m (DM 12.6m) production funding by the Bavarian public funder FilmFernsehFonds Bayern (FFF) at its latest session.While the largest sum - $1.4m (DM 3m) - went to Gavin Hood's adaptation of Corinne Hofmann's autobiographical novel Die Weisse Massai, $1.08m (DM 2.3m) was awarded to von Trotta's Second World War drama Rosenstrasse, to star
  • Figgis' Battle to premiere at London festival

    Already in the London Film Festival programme with Hotel, the follow-up to his acclaimed digital picture Timecode, experimental UK film-maker Mike Figgis will also premiere his digital documentary The Battle Of Orgreave at the event, which runs Nov 7-22.The Battle Of Orgreave portrays a June 2001 re-enactment of the notorious 1984 South Yorkshire riots between striking mine-workers and the police.The re-staging of the riots was the brainchild of conc
  • Five nods each for three British films at BIFA

    Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast, Joel Hopkins' Jump Tomorrow and Richard Parry's South West Nine lead the nominations for the fourth British Independent Film Awards held in London on Oct 24. Sexy Beast, one of the highlights of the recent resurrection of the British gangster genre, garnered a total of five nods, including best British independent film and best director. Sexy Beast's stars, Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley, both received nominations in the b
  • France's Expand reports first half losses

    French television production powerhouse Expand, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, has announced a Euros 4.5m loss for the first half of 2001, compared to a Euros 1.8m net profit in the same period last year.Expand -- in which Vivendi Universal (through StudioCanal) upped its participation to a controlling 52.1% stake last August -- is expecting to see its full year revenues dip 10% and its operating result to be 'near breakeven'.The company, which produces some 1800 hours of te
  • Germany's H5B5 to make Oma Porat biopic

    German media group H5B5 Media has acquired the exclusive rights to produce a biopic based on the eventful life of Israeli actress Orna Porat.Born as Irena Kline in Germany, she came to fame on the German stage in the 1930s and was an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth. Later, though, she fought in the Israeli War of Independence and was instrumental in making the very first secret peace contacts to the Arab world in the early
  • Ghislain Lambert's Bike

    Dir: Philippe Harel. France/Belgium. 2001. 115 mins. A lively mock biopic of a failed Belgium racing cyclist, Ghislain Lambert's Bike (Le Velo De Ghislain Lambert) is a broad but entertaining comedy with excellent prospects in French-speaking markets and anywhere where cycling is a national obsession. Care will be needed to avoid it being perceived as a straight sports feature, but the offbeat, ironic humour could strike a chord in other European territories. While Nor
  • Hamburg's Digi@ward goes to Danish KAT

    Filmfest Hamburg's first Digi@ward in recognition of the use of digital technology in film has gone to Henrik Danstrup, producer of Danish filmmaker Martin Schmidt's psycho-thriller KAT. Described as a cross between Cat People and Nightwatch, KAT received the first prize worth $30,652 (DM 65,000) and the promise of additional services and facilities worth the same amount from Hamburg companies.The second prize - worth $16,505 (
  • Henry sentenced for fraud against Village Roadshow

    Ross Andrew Henry, former chief financial officer of Village Roadshow's US subsidiary, has been sentenced to 30 months jail by the US District Court in Los Angeles after pleading guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and "deprivation of honest services", according to Reuters news service. Henry wired money, supposed to be for film production costs, out of the listed cinema company's account in Los Angeles on four occasions from February 1998. The frauds - which cost Village Roadshow
  • Hong Kong's largest studio gets greenlight

    The largest movie studio to be built in Hong Kong has been given the greenlight to begin construction at the end of the year.Shaw Brothers has been waiting for a permit to jointly develop two pieces of land on which to build the state-of-the-art Movie City. The first piece of land, 30,000 square metres, was acquired when a consortium led by Shaw Brothers won the tender in August, 1998. The second plot, 15,000 square metres, was acquired in September, 2000.Further delays were c
  • Imperial renamed Comerica Entertainment Group

    Entertainment lending group Imperial Entertainment Group has been renamed Comerica Entertainment Group, following the acquisition of Imperial Bank by Comerica in Jan this year.The completed merger gives the entertainment group, headed by president Morgan Rector, access to increased capital for financing entertainment projects and entities.Comerica Entertainment Group has financed large-scale independent features including Angel Eyes and Driven for Franchise Pictu
  • India announces anti-piracy measures

    Indian Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sushma Swaraj has announced the formation of a six-member committee to regulate the showing of films on cable networks. She also committed to preventing the screening of pirated versions of films on Indian cable TV networks. The new committee comprises Indian filmmakers: Yash Chopra, Yash Johar and Amit Khanna and three members from the cable industry: Ram Hingorani (Hinduja group), Dr AK Rastogi (President of All India Avishkar Dish Ant
  • Kathy Morgan reelected to chair of AFMA

    Kathy Morgan, the veteran sales agent and head of Kathy Morgan International, was re-elected chairman of AFMA (aka the American Film Marketing Association) yesterday during the group's annual membership meeting. She will serve another two-year term alongside other newly elected vice chairman Robert Meyers of Meyers Film Entertainment and newly elected vice chairman & secretary Steve Bickel of Orpheum Communications.Meanwhile newly elected to the board of directors for a one-year term
  • Lantana opens Brooklyn's New Wave Down Under fest

    The film component of the Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM) New Wave Down Under Festival opens with new Australian film Lantana this Thursday (Oct 4). BAM decided that the month-long celebration of Australian arts and culture should go ahead despite the tragic events in New York and Washington of September 11, and it is now being pitched as Australia's contribution to the recovery. Were co-curator and Australian critic Paul Byrnes to now suggest a name for the program, it would
  • Let's Get Skase

    Dir: Matthew George. Australia. 2001. 100 mins.The recent death from cancer and emphysema in Majorca of Christopher Skase, fugitive Australian businessman and would-be media mogul (he nearly owned MGM in the 80s), has not stopped the wide local release (October 18, 110 screens) of this loud and rumbustious action comedy in which a smug, evil Skase is seen feigning illness while plotting to take over the world. Although constructed on a witless and often confusing screenplay,
  • Local films fly the flag in Ireland and France

    A string of high profile Irish and French productions, both in recent weeks and upcoming, are showing strength in their respective local markets. Showing a seasonal release pattern in spring and autumn for both territories, local films seem to be taking full advantage of the downtime between the power of the US blockbusters in the summer and the looming shadows of winter behemoths such as Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of Th
  • Luna Rossa (Red Moon)

    Dir: Antonio Capuano. Italy. 2001. 117mins. "The only way you can control people", says the Mafia boss, "is if they know you can kill them anytime you want". This upbeat moral epigram could provide the poster tag for Antonio Capuano's new film, which screened in the main competition at Venice. Luna Rossa (Red Moon) is a stylised, unrepetantly auteur-ish exploration of life, death and camera angles in a Camorra (Neapolitan mafia) family. References to Greek tragedy - es
  • Madstone taps veteran to spearhead exhibition push

    Madstone Theaters, the US exhibition upstart that plans to create a new generation of art-house multiplexes equipped with digital projectors, has hired veteran film executiveJim Sheehan (pictured left) as its president.Previously president and chief operating officer of the Mann Theaters circuit and, most recently, MGM's vice president of sales administration,Sheehan is to be based now in Madstone's newly-opened Los Angeles office,where he will head-up all its exhibition activities. Sh
  • Matsushita launches digital film business

    Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. will launch its first digital film production company, Progressive Pictures Co., on October 1. Company president Hidenori Ishii is a former vice president of Japan Victor Entertainment US, with extensive experience in the film industry. Capitalised at $1.68m (Y200m), the Tokyo-based company will produce films with local partners initially for theatrical release and eventually for online services. Progressive Pictures also has plans to recruit produce
  • Menemsha gets international rights to L.I.E.

    Neil Friedman's Menemsha Entertainment has acquired rights outside North America to Michael Cuesta's L.I.E. which is currently on release in the US through Lot 47 Films. The film world premiered in competition at this year's Sundance Film Festival and was one of the most critically acclaimed titles at the festival. Cuesta also shared the New Directors Prize at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August.A disturbing tale of a troubled 15 year-old boy in Long Island dabb
  • MGM moves Windtalkers from Nov to summer 2002

    Just weeks before its scheduled release, MGM Distribution Company has moved its epic war movie Windtalkers from Nov 9 to June 14, 2002, to avoid any uncertainties that might affect the box office in the wake of the Sept 11 tragedy.Windtalkers is one of the biggest films to emerge from Chris McGurk's regime at MGM, and sources say that the studio did not want to risk a compromised audience reaction. Directed by John Woo and starring Nicolas Cage, the film is the story of
  • Michelangelo Antonioni to return to directing

    Michelangelo Antonioni, the ailing 89-year-old director of Blow Up and Beyond The Clouds, is set to return to the film set after six years to direct one segment of a three-part feature film. Wong Kar-wai and Pedro Almodovar are attached to direct the other two parts of the movie, a low-budget erotic drama, leading Italian daily La Repubblica said.The movie, entitled Eros, will feature unknown actors playing the parts of two women who have in the past bot
  • Mike Bassett: England Manager

    Dir: Steve Barron. UK. 2001. 89 mins The British passion for football has never quite translated into an appetite for football films. When Saturday Comes (1995) failed to make much of an impression and A Shot At Glory (2000) is only just limping into a limited release two years after its production. Mockumentary Mike Bassett England Manager has better prospects than most because it is a comedy but the screenplay fails to make the most of the rich possibil
  • Mike Bassett: England Manager scores at home

    Mike Bassett: England Manager, the first film to emerge from UK support body The Film Council's Premiere Fund, took a strong $1,226,745 (£830,000) from 263 screens in the UK this weekend.The football mockumentary with local TV comedy star Ricky Tomlinson narrowly beat another UK title, Enigma. The code-cracking adaptation with Kate Winslet took a healthy $1,107,885 (£794,521) from 267 screensReleased by Entertainment Film Distributors with additional p&a support fr
  • Momentum picks up UK rights for The Son's Room

    Momentum Pictures has picked up all UK rights to Nanni Moretti's Palme d'Or winner The Son's Room.The story of a middle class Italian family dealing with the death of their son will have its UK premiere at the London Film Festival on Nov 17, with Moretti attending. Momentum bought the film from French-based sales agent Wild Bunch in a deal negotiated between Sally Caplan, Momentum's senior vice president of acquisitions and business affairs, and Carole Baraton, Wild Bunch
  • Moritzen appointed at Danish Film Institute

    Marianne Moritzen has been appointed new head of development at the department for Production & Development at the Danish Film Institute following former head Lars Hermann's decision to move on to manage Egmont-owned Nordisk Film's new conglomeration of it's post-production in FilmTeknik A/S. Form Oct.1 she will be responsible for all features, shorts and documentaries backed by the Institute, up until the moment when a project is cleared for production support, at which point it is pa
  • Nadia Bronson hires Castaneda, O'Dell, Alves

    Nadia Bronson, the former international marketing and distribution chief at Universal Pictures, has named three key staff hires at her new company - Nadia Bronson Associates, a one-stop consultancy for international distribution, marketing, promotions and creative services. All three had worked with Bronson at Universal. They are: - Thomas Castaneda, a long time colleague of Bronson who left his post as vice president of international publicity at Universal earlier this year;
  • Pathe, Lions Gate board John Cusack-starrer Max

    Pathe Pictures and Lions Gate Films have boarded Menno Meyjes' directorial debut Max, formerly known as Hoffman, which will start principal photography in Hungary on Nov 5 with a cast headed by John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Leelee Sobieski and Molly Parker.Pathe International will handle international sales and Lions Gate domestic rights on Max which is an Alliance Atlantis/Andras Hamori production in association with JAP Films and Natural Nylon Entertainment. Pathe w
  • Premiere World carrying Fox News Channel

    In response to the recent tragic events in the US, Germany's digital platform Premiere World has decided to carry the Fox News Channel from September 25 until further notice. "In view of the currently tense political situation, we want to offer our viewers a comfortable and direct access to US reporting and thus information at first hand", declared Premiere World's product manager Hans Seger. This addition comes ahead of plans to expand the Premiere World information offer to in
  • Proliferating producer credits weave tangled web

    Abstracted from the weekly edition of Screen InternationalEverything about the summer hit Pearl Harbor was big: the scale of the production, the array of special effects, the breadth of the marketing and the cast of thousands who got a producing credit on the film. Pearl Harbor's credit roll includes six executive producers, four associate producers and two producers. With a $150m+ budget, perhaps it's to be expected Now consider David Cronenberg's
  • Ritchie's Love, Sex, Drugs And Money starts shoot

    Swept Away, UK director Guy Ritchie's follow-up to Snatch which starts a six-week shoot on location in Malta and Sardinia today (Oct 1), has changed its title to the snappier Love, Sex, Drugs And Money.The film unites Ritchie with his wife Madonna, who takes the main role of Amber - a rich, spoilt woman who embarks with a group of friends on a Mediterranean cruise. Bored by the vacation, she develops an antagonism towards young Italian fisherman Giusuppe, but the r
  • Rival UK TV stations share Disney film output

    UK terrestrial broadcasting rivals BBC and ITV have struck a joint film rights deal to acquire Disney's theatrical output from 2000. Under the deal with Buena Vista International Television, UK commercial broadcasting network ITV has picked up the rights to titles including Unbreakable, Gone In 60 Seconds, Scary Movie, Coyote Ugly and Mission To Mars. The BBC has taken more family-oriented fare with 102 Dalmatians, and the romantic comedies Chocola
  • San Sebastian's hope: next year's 50th anniversary

    This year's San Sebastian International Film Festival (September 20-29) may well be remembered more for the promise of next year's high-profile anniversary event, as well as the unfortunate global circumstances which affected the 49th edition, than for the festival's own merits. Coming in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US, many North American stars and directors cancelled their trips to Spain, including top Donostia award recipients Warren Beatty and Julie Andrew
  • Spirited breaks Japan's all-time admissions record

    Spirited Away, the Hayao Miyazaki animation that has led the Japanese box office since its release on July 20, has set a new all-time admissions record for the territory, with 16,878,000 tickets sold as of September 26. The previous record was held by Titanic with 16,831,000 admissions after 62 weeks on release. The Miyazaki film surpassed this total after only 10 weeks on release and is on track to overtake Titantic's all-time box office record of $220m (Y26bn) sometime
  • Taxi Para Tres (A Cab For Three)

    Dir: Orlando Lubbert. Chile. 2001. 90 mins. The unexpected winner of the Golden Shell for best film in San Sebastian, A Cab For Three (Taxi Para Tres), a black comedy about a taxi driver drawn into a life of crime, continues the festival's current preference for South and Central American cinema: the top award has gone in recent years to work from Argentina (1998's El Viento Se Ilevo Lo Que) and Mexico (2000's La Perdicion De Los Hombres). The priz
  • Taxi Para Tres is San Sebastian surprise winner

    Chilean director Orlando Lubbert was the surprise winner Saturday Oct 28, at the 49th annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, walking away with the Golden Shell award for best film for the little-known A Cab For Three (Taxi Para Tres). Jury president Claude Chabrol's reading of the top prize was met with boos and whistles from the mostly local press gathered. Other awards received enthusiastic applause, particularly Spanish titles Work In Progress (En Constru
  • The Man From Elysian Fields

    Dir: George Hickenlooper. US. 2001. 105minsThe trials and tribulations of an underachieving novelist provide the basis of The Man From Elysian Fields, a modern morality tale that sustains a dry, playful wit and tight narrative for its first hour before beginning to unravel. Conventional closing stages fail to deliver on the promise of the early scenes and lead to a mild sense of disappointment. Spirited dialogue and appealing performances remain the hallmarks of a film
  • The Navigators

    Dir Ken Loach. UK-Germany-Spain-Italian-French. 95 mins.Propagating the cause of the working class, Ken Loach's politics are in the right place - but that doesn't necessarily result in powerful film-making, as is evident from The Navigators, his latest foray into left-of-centre ideology, which this time examines the privatisation of the British railways and its devastating effects on its workers. On the plus side, the new feature is certainly better and more substanti
  • TV commercials break out into feature films

    Start-up Danish production outfit, FilmPeople, has begun production on its first independent project, Polle Fiction (pictured), a feature comedy based on a TV commercial. This is only the second feature to be based on a television advertisement concept, although it is the first to go into production; as Rowan Atkinson's Johnny English (based on the Barclaycard commercials) which is to be produced by the UK's Working Title, has yet to go before the cameras.FilmPeopl
  • UK openers score well at home

    British films were the toast of the town in the UK this weekend as Enigma and Mike Bassett: England Manager battled it out with holdover The Fast And The Furious and fellow opener The Score to claim top five positions. While unable to pose any threat to Steven Spielberg's fantasy A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which held the top spot in its second weekend on release, or 20th Century Fox powerhouse Moulin Rouge, the two local titles ably proved their pu
  • Universal/UIP cook up $8m German opening for Pie 2

    Universal Pictures and its international distribution operation UIP have scored the biggest opening of the year in Germany with American Pie 2. The comedy sequel took an estimated $8m in its first three days this weekend on 900 screens.The movie opened 4% ahead of Pearl Harbor, 17% ahead of Hannibal, 23% ahead of The Mummy Returns, 31% ahead of Jurassic Park III and 58% ahead of Planet Of The Apes, according to Universal. It accounted for 60%
  • US theatres raise $5m for Sept 11 charities

    Tuesday's Victims' Benefit Day at the Movies - on which theatre owners and distributors donated all ticket and concessions sales to Sept 11 charities - raised over $5m for disaster relief.50 percent of the proceeds collected will be donated to the American Red Cross and 50 percent will be donated to the United Way. 100% of Sept 25 ticket and concessions sales are to be donated.Over 450 exhibitors across the US representing over 30,000 screens participated in the benefit. Distr
  • Vidocq tops French chart after slow start

    After a slow start, UGC high-tech period/fantasy title Vidocq has attracted over 740,000 admissions in its first five days, topping the French charts at Sept 23The $21.4m (Ffr152m) title -- a first film by SFX specialist Pitof, which stars Gerard Depardieu and Guillaume Canet and was entirely digitally produced - is followed by another French film, surprise hit Une Hirondelle A Fait Le Printemps, which sold over one million tickets in its third week.Swordfish
  • Warner Bros promotes Gornell, Nolan, Schneider

    Warner Bros Pictures has made three senior promotions in its London-based international marketing division. Con Gornell has been named senior vice president, European theatrical marketing, Conor Nolan has been promoted to vice president European promotions and special events, and Armin Schneider has been named vice president, European publicity. The promotions were made by Sue Kroll, president of international marketing at Warner Bros Pictures.Gornell will oversee and manage the day-t
  • Winchester's Last Orders goes to Sony Classics

    Winchester Films has closed a multi-territory deal with Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) on Fred Schepisi's Last Orders which had its world premiere at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. SPC bought the film for North America, Scandinavia, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.The film, which was well-received by critics and audiences at the festival, is based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Graham Swift. It stars Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Ray Wi
  • Word, Zoolander, Hearts revitalise US box office

    Americans went back to the movies over the weekend as three new films opened well and box office was up 52% on last weekend and 26% up on the same weekend last year.20th Century Fox's psychological thriller Don't Say A Word, produced by New Regency Productions, was the box office champion over the weekend, taking $18m. Directed by Gary Fleder and starring Michael Douglas as a psychiatrist whose daughter is abducted by ex-cons who need him to extract a six digit number from one
  • Working Title develops animatronic Rat project

    The UK's Working Title Films is developing an untitled family film based on newcomer Billy O'Brien's short film The Tale Of The Rat That Wrote.The story of a rat's adventures in a dark, Dickensian world combines live-action, animation and the animatronics effects from the blockbuster Babe. O'Brien is to adapt his 1999 short himself, with the film's producer Ruth Kenley-Letts also on board.The original film follows a rat caged in a rodent emporium where experiments
  • Zoolander

    Dir Ben Stiller. US 2001. 90 min.Profoundly silly but sporadically entertaining, Ben Stiller's Zoolander is an extremely slight and goofy farce of the fashion industry, this time around targeting male rather than female models. Based on the character that Stiller and MTV Movie Awards writer/producer Drake Sather created for the 1996 VH1/Vogue Fashion awards, the new comedy, which might have been inspired by Mike Myers' far superior Austin Powers, is still essential